1. Section Editor(s): Raso, Rosanne DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, FAONL

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The long-awaited report from the National Academy of Medicine, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, has arrived and, with it, the hope for a future of health equity and nurses' health and well-being. The report itself is 469 pages! Let's distill what it means for us as leaders who are committed to excellence.

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To start, the Future of Nursing dedication is heart-wrenching. Paraphrasing would do it an injustice, so here it is word for word: "This report is dedicated to the nurses around the world who paid the ultimate price of caring for people during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020-2021. Hundreds lost their lives, and many thousands became sick themselves. And those who escaped the physical symptoms of the illness did not necessarily escape the physical and mental toll of working long hours in grueling circumstances...Their dedication and persistence in the face of adversity saved countless lives...and eased the suffering of the dying...For them, we look to the future of nursing to help ensure that what happened to the nursing profession this year and those in their care, especially the disadvantaged and people of color, becomes an event of the past." If there was ever a reason to be motivated to be part of the future, that surely is it.


The areas identified for strengthening nursing include workforce, leadership, education, well-being, and emergency preparedness/response. These areas for growth are acknowledged to be in the context of evolving trends in demographics, technology, care models, public health emergencies, and attitudes toward racism and equity. This is the Future of Nursing's framework for depicting every nurse's role in addressing equity of health and healthcare, whether clinical nurses in acute, community, or public health; care coordinators; policy makers; clinicians; educators; researchers; administrators; or informaticists.


Leadership is mentioned over 100 times, and you don't need a formal title to lead change. I've seen clinical nurses do it over and over, including change that addresses equity issues at patient, unit, hospital, and community levels. You don't have to boil the ocean to be part of the Future of Nursing vision, every step helps. We can promote workplace cultures that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. We can advocate locally, regionally, and federally for policy change. We can improve quality of care in our own workplaces through improvement efforts in collaboration with all disciplines. We can mentor and be mentored to lead "with a health equity lens." The Future of Nursing vision for leadership is across the spectrum from self to beyond healthcare. Nurses are so well-positioned to make this difference.


You'll be pleased that well-being is mentioned 164 times, with an entire chapter on "Supporting the Health and Professional Well-Being of Nurses." Burnout and professional well-being are described on a continuum, to which we can all relate. I've seen and heard every aspect of that continuum across the country over the past year. We can't contribute to the Future of Nursing recommendations without it.


We're all part of the Future of Nursing. It may seem daunting, and the big picture is quite huge indeed. For all the nurses around the world who paid the price of caring for the sick and dying under the most challenging circumstances, and for all disadvantaged people of the world, let us do our part to collaborate with others and lead our teams to elevate practice, advance health equity, and support nurse well-being.



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